"People of Character" Paul Newman image

Do you know who first said, “A man with no enemies is a man with no character”? No, it wasn’t Plato or Socrates, or even one of Shakespeare’s many characters serving as a mouthpiece to express one of the Bard’s beliefs, either capricious in nature or deeply held. Get ready for the name, and if you’re in your thirties or forties, mention it in passing to your mother, and see if she doesn’t smile to herself for a fraction of a second: Paul Newman. Star of stage and screen, Academy Award winner, racecar driver, and heartthrob to a generation, a man who counted Richard Nixon among his enemies, or at least vice-versa when Newman was officially listed as such by that administration. What would the character of such a man be? No enemies, no character. It’s like saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

When Newman fell, for the final trick that none of us knows how to beat, he left behind a legacy in the form of the Newman’s Own line of food products. A label or two in your fridge or cabinet right now may display his smiling face, above the message that all after-tax profits of the whole Newman’s Own Foundation go to charities. The figure attached to the total donations the company has made is ever-increasing, but right now it’s around a half a billion dollars. That's billion with a B.

When you’re in that bracket, you can play around with gathering other charitable organizations under your umbrella, both to further the cause of furthering causes in general, and to hype up name-recognition and market security. That’s what the Newman’s Own Foundation $500,000 Holiday Challenge is about. Charities that meet certain criteria can join the challenge, at its heart a fundraising contest, and the top earners collect prizes of up to $150,000.

Now, the moment of extrapolation and localization: the illustrious Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland has entered the fray, gauntlets on the ground and blade of beneficence flashing. Help them duel it out with other charities by giving your own quadruped a pat and clicking and giving at https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/animal-refuge-league-of-greater-portland. The critters under the care of the ARLGP gain the benefit of your donation, aside and apart from whatever wonders our Westbrookian friends will enact with any Foundation prize.

And the summation, in the words of Mr. Newman a second time: “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

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